SHMUPS: Enforcer (C64)

I’m pretty “into” shoot’em ups, aka shmups. I’m not gonna brag and say I’m great at them, or even good at them for that matter… but I enjoy the design of them… I enjoy the brutal difficulty of them.

I’ve recently discovered a little known title called, Enforcer: Fullmetal Megablaster. It originally came out on the Commodore 64, way late in the systems life in 1992. It’s recently been ported and rereleased on the iOS thanks to a company called Elite Systems Ltd. Enforcer was created by a fairly well known programmer and game designer named Manfred Trenz, although for this game he worked under the alias “The Master.” This game is considered an unofficial sequel to a previous shmup he made called Katakis. Although his most famous game overall is Turrican, the classic run and gun, platformer shooter.

I made a point of playing this game both via C64 emulation and also on the iOS to see how the experience translates.  One thing that jumps out at you, regardless of which version you play is the production values… for a C64 game in 1992. It looks pretty damn good. Most people think of Commodore 64 games and imagine some blocky looking port of Pac Man… but no, Enforcer looks about as great as a Commodore 64 game can look. Its slightly better than a high end NES game. It looks great. Then theres the music. This one hits hard. Amazing title music… extremely cool and dramatic sounding high score music. At times it reminded me of Daft Punk‘s Tron Legacy soundtrack. The gameplay music does not disappoint other. Top notch work by Markus Siebold. Then there’s the gameplay. Its classic shoot’em up affair here… guide your spaceship across a horizontal playing field while blasting through and dodging enemy ships and asteroids. Collect power up icons to shoot more bullets… or bigger lasers. The stages look cool. Especially passing whole planets while flying though an asteroid field. I enjoyed a lot.








The controls are pretty tight and responsive on C64. On the iOS version, the controls are done via IDaptive Controls inside the game. This allows you to customize the controls to a decent extent including placement and transparency. Unforunately, the gameplay was not designed for touch screen, and lets face it… touch screens are not as accurate or responsive to play on as real controllers or keyboards. This makes for a very challenging and fustrating iPhone game. Even with that said though, its still a bad ass game and worth the money. Its not a broken gaming experience.. and for those of you that are iOS gaming wizards, you will probably find it easier to beat this game than I.

Overall, I would recommend Enforcer to fans of shmups and retro gamers a like. The iOS version is a nice port if you can handle a touch screen. Otherwise, check out the C64 version.

Buy the iOS version on iTunes here. (iTunes Store)

Learn more about Enforcer here. (Moby Games)

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